The Highest Offer is Not Always the Best Offer

Just because a buyer offers a much higher sales price than anybody else doesn’t necessarily mean a seller should sell her home in Sacramento to that buyer. In fact, a much higher sales price can be viewed as suspicious during a multiple-offer presentation. You’ve got to ask yourself if that particular buyer is smarter, brighter, and more ambitious than everybody else or is that particular buyer holding something back? Most buyers are pretty much the same, so if a purchase offer stands apart from all of the others, the wise way to approach that kind of situation is with caution and ask questions.

My sister asked me a question yesterday to which I had no answer. She wanted to know when Canadian geese had turned into Canada geese. Don’t know. I guess I figured that I’d just been saying it wrong all of these years. I grew up in Minnesota around a lot of Canada geese. At the time, I actually thought they flew down from Canada and hung around in our parks during the day crapping everywhere and went home at night. I know golfers made jokes about using their bodies as golf clubs. I suspect people don’t think that’s so funny today.

Just like the Canada writer who writes about Canada whom I met at a convention in San Francisco. She looked like she wanted to poke out my eyes with her two fingers when I asked how it felt to write about a country nobody in the U.S. cares about or even much thinks about. See, Stephen Colbert can say that sort of stuff and get away with it. Evidently, I can’t make the same jokes. Canada is a great country and let’s not forget it sheltered those Americans in our Best Picture winner for the Oscars: Argo. I was equally pleased to see that Life of Pi picked up so many awards, as that’s a movie that really touches your heart and spins the mind. I left that movie theater with these words ringing in my head: bananas don’t float.

What that really means is the people who were analyzing the story from Pi figured out there was something wrong with his story because bananas don’t float. He talked about floating bananas in his story. That’s what I look for in a multiple-offer situation. What is wrong with that higher offer, I ask?

Sometimes, as the listing agent, I will call the buyer’s agent to discuss it. I might say that the seller is thinking about accepting their buyer’s offer, but we want some kind of assurance that the buyer won’t try to renegotiate after offer acceptance. Because you know, buyers will offer a higher price just to get into contract and they figure a few weeks in, when everybody is set to close, that’s a good time to suddenly discover a defect, or your suit was at the cleaners, an earthquake is coming, and they want to lower the price. They think they are smart. I think they are snakes in the grass.

See, the thing is though, a buyer’s agent will tell me what they think I want to hear. If they are setting up their buyer to renegotiate, they might make promises to my face that they have no intention of keeping. Sure enough, I had 2 of those situations last month. But they both eventually closed because this Sacramento real estate agent kicked them closed. And please realize, I have nothing but respect for Canada. But don’t get me started on that song by Warren Zevon about the hockey players from Canada.

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